Class F a,7
Book --C Q \3) (o
AND ITS PEOPLE.
A SHORT HISTORY
The Lakeside Press.
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In presenting this history of two of the best
known islands in Portland Harbor, it has been the
intention of the author to give only the story of
the early days of those islands, and of the families
who have contributed to their history.
It has been truly said that it is human to err,
and if the reader finds that errors have crept into
the narrative, it must be expected, as a perfect
history has yet to be written.
I. Introduction. — Names of the Island. —
Area of Islands. — Early Houses, . 7
II. Titles to Peaks Island. — Captain John
Waite and Family. — Brackett and
Trott Lands, 12
III. The Stone House. — Its Location and
History. — " The Refuge." — George
Felt, Jr., and his Massacre. — Indian
History, ...... 21
IV. Revolutionary Alarm. — Shipwreck. —
Harbor Frozen.— A Hermit. — Soldiers
of the Rebellion. — Regimental Build-
ings. — Religious Meetings. — Home of
the Ancestors of Two Famous Ameri-
cans, ....... 31
V. Steamboat Lines. — Steamers Kennebec,
Antelope, Casco, Gazelle, and others, 40
VI. Family Historie s. — Brackett, Trott,
Woodbury, Parsons, Jones, Skillings,
Sterling, Trefethen, Scott, .... 46
VII. House Island. — The Owners and Some of
Their History, . . . . .77
Peaks Island, Frontispiece
Map of the Harbor, .... Opposite Page 40
House Island, Opposite Page 77
ITS HISTORY AND ITS PEOPLE.
Introduction. — Names of Island. — Area of Islands.
" There are no times like the old times — they shall never be forgot!
There is noplace like the old place — keep green the dear old spot!"
Peaks Island is not famed in history or
song. The poet has not sung of its beauties
and the historian has passed it by, but it has
its history and its beauties are acknowledged
The earliest voyagers found Casco Bay
adapted for a playground and a summer
resort. Christopher Levitt, in 1623, said that
there was good fishing and much fowl. He
found plenty of salmon and other good fish
in Fore River. Michael Mitton told Josselyn
of seeing a merman who came and laid his
hands on the side of his canoe and that he
chopped off one of his hands and that he then
sank, dyeing the water with his purple blood.
Josselyn said, "Trouts there be a good store
8 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
in every brook two and twenty inches long."
These tales were told almost two centuries
and a half ago to induce people to make onr
bay their future home. This was before the
da}'S of the summer resort advertiser.
The names that Peaks Island has borne
at different times are of much interest in its
history. The first known name of the island
was Pond, but that name was changed by
George Cleeve to Michael's Island in 1637.
Probably about 1661 it was called Munjoy's
Island, for George Munjoy, and then about
1670 it became known as Palmer's Island, for
John Palmer, which name it seems to have
borne up to the re-settlement of the town in
1 7 16, although it was then sometimes called
Munjoy's Island. Perhaps soon after the
town was re-settled the island became to be
known as Peaks Island, although there is no
known reason why that name was taken.
Joseph Peake was a soldier in Capt. Domini-
cus Jordan's Company in 1744; he may be
the man for whom it was named, as he must
have lived at Cape Elizabeth or perhaps on
the island. There appears no record of any
person of that name ever owning the island
before 1741, when it was called Peaks Island.
The name has no special significance to
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 9
us, but it is well to keep the old familiar
names of our islands and localities. They
have long ago become historic and are known
landmarks. Let the coming generations know
them by the same names that they are known
to us. It will make their history much more
interesting to those who will come to enjoy
Peaks Island is the most popular island
in the bay ; partly because of its accessibility,
but more from the fact that the visitors feel a
freedom that they experience on no other
island. You are allowed to wander unmo-
lested through the fields, along the shores
and through their woods, and leave with a
kindly feeling toward the island and its peo-
ple. Portland is fortunate to have such a
playground almost at its very door.
The cit}' proper has an area of 1,666
acres, and the islands within the city limits
have an area of 2,963 acres. The areas of
these islands are:
Cushing's Island, .
Iyittle Diamond Island, .
Great Diamond Island, .
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
Crotch (Cliff) Island, .
Little Chebeagne Island,
Cow Island, .
Ram Island, .
Other small islands,
Peaks Island is next to the largest of
them all, and in its widest part is one and
one-half miles long, and one and one-quarter
broad. It had, in 1896, a resident population
of 343. In the early times it was probably
covered with a growth of hard wood, of small
size, and bushes. For two centuries there
was not a regular road or a horse upon the
island. The farm work was done by oxen.
The inhabitants were formerly engaged in a
little farming and a good deal of fishing, but
of late years the entertainment of summer
visitors has engaged most of their attention.
At the time of the Revolution there were
probably but three houses on the island:
Thomas Brackett's, Benjamin Trott's, and
the house near Trefethen's Landing, where
Capt. John Waite had lived. In 1830 there
were on Peaks Island thirteen families and
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. II
seventy inhabitants. In 1833 there were the
following houses there: Joseph Reed's, occu-
pied by his sons-in-law, Nathaniel S. Millett
and Walter S. Hatch ; Benjamin Welch's, John
T. Brackett's, now the Peaks Island House,
Joshua Trott's (the old Trott house), Luther
Sterling's (the Mansfield house), Benjamin
Trott, Jr.'s, with Francis and Charles Wood-
bury's, near Trefethen's Landing. They
were all one-story except John T. Brackett's
and Joshua Trott's, which were two.
Many families have lived on the island in
different generations who have had no titles
to the land, who have been long, long for-
gotten. It is one of the most beautiful
islands in Casco Bay, and must increase in
popularity as the years come and go. It is
now a community of itself, and the appear-
ance of the island is the best evidence of its
prosperity. The outlook from almost any
point is fine. The view toward White Head,
and also that from the bluff toward the
setting sun, is as beautiful as can be found
on our coast.
" This is the place. Stand still, rny steed,
Let me review the scene.
And summon from the shadowy Past
The forms that once have been."
The Titles to Peaks Island. — Capt. John Waite
and Family. — Brackett and Trott Lands.
" The Past and Present here unite
Beneath Time's flowing tide,
Like footprints hidden by a brook
But seen on either side."
The history of Peaks Island commences
almost with the settlement of Portland, and
perhaps before. When Capt. Christopher
Levitt was here in 1623 and the next year, he
and his men were, no donbt, frequent visitors
to this island. They were probably the first
white men to land much there. George Cleeve
and Richard Tucker settled Portland in 1633
and built themselves a log house near the spot
where the poet Longfellow was born in 1807.
By that settlement they acquired one hundred
and fifty acres of land each, on Falmouth
Neck, as Portland was afterwards called.
In 1637, by a commission from Sir Fer-
nando Gorges, for letting and settling of lands
and the islands, Cleeve leased Pond (Peaks)
Island to Michael Mitton for sixty years, and
stated that the name should be Michael's
Island for Mitton, who had married his
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 13
daughter, Elizabeth. Cleeve. The island was
at first called Pond because of a pond upon
the eastern side, which still exists except in
the dryest times. The title was confirmed to
Mitton by Gorges in 1642, and again by
Cleeve, as Alexander Rigby's agent, in 1650.
Michael Mitton lived at Cape Elizabeth, near
the end of Portland Bridge, on a lot deeded to
him by Cleeve, in Rigby's name, in 1650.
Mitton died in 1660, and Cleeve probably about
ten years later — a very old man.
Elizabeth (Cleeve) Mitton, then a widow,
conve}^ed Michael's Island to John Phillips, a
merchant of Boston, in 1661, and George
Munjoy married his only daughter, Mary
Phillips. Their daughter, Mary Munjoy,
married John Palmer. Munjoy improved the
island and built a stone house upon it before
the year 1670, and probably fish stages and
flakes. There is no evidence that he ever
occupied that house. No other island has
been called Munjoy's Island in the records.
George Munjoy's place of business and dwell-
ing-house were on the lot on the west corner
of what is now Fore and Mountfort Streets,
but of course must have extended along Fore
Street. The house was fortified and known
as " Munjoy's Garrison." The seashore then
14 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
was almost to the street and there was an un-
obstructed view of the harbor.
John Palmer, Munjoy's son-in-law, and his
family lived on Peaks Island several years
before 1675, in the stone house. Then it be-
came known as Palmer's Island, as it had
been given to Palmer's wife by her grand-
father, John Phillips. Mary Jordan, widow
of Samuel Jordan, ancestors of the writer,
stated in her deposition, made in 1741, when
she was an old lady, that Palmer and family
lived in the stone house on Palmer's Island
several years, until the Indians drove them
off, which was no doubt in 1675, at the be-
ginning of the King Philip's War. In 1680
George Munjoy died, aged 54 years. In 1681
the selectmen of the town "confirmed to
Mary, daughter of George Munjoy, senior,
deceased, all that island given her by her
grandfather, Mr. J. Phillips, by the name of
Pond Island or Mr. Munjoy's Island." This
was John Palmer's wife. She and, probably,
he were carried away or killed by the In-
dians some years later, and were never heard
Peaks Island was claimed by the posterity
of Cleeve and Mitton, and the owners of the
Phillips' title from the heirs of Mary (Mun-
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 15
joy) Palmer, who were then Parson Thomas
Smith and Capt. John Waite. Anthonj^ and
Joshua Brackett were the Mitton heirs, and
in 1 741, at York, there was a lawsuit relating
to the title of four thousand acres of land, in
which Peaks Island was included. Parson
Smith says in his journal, under date of June
23, 1741 • "Our great case came on this
morning, and was not finished till between
nine and ten at night. " The next day he
says: "The jury brought in against us";
but in 1742 he claimed to own one-third part
of Peaks and the same of House Island. The
case of the title to Peaks Island was again
tried in the Inferior Court in 1762; this time
by Capt. John Waite, probably alone, and
again in the Superior Court in 1763, when it
was decided that the Phillips' title, repre-
sented by Capt. Waite, was entitled to two-
ninths of the island, which was called 134
acres and 54 square rods. Parson Smith
seemed not to have shared with Waite in that
award. He left the following memorandum
in his own handwriting: "Capt. Waite recov-
ered against the Bracketts two-ninths, i. e.
one-ninth he purchased of Pullen and wife
(Palmer heirs), which some years before I
had purchased of them and the deed recorded ;
1 6 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
whether that may not be considered my pos-
session." Pullen sold his share twice, and
Capt. John Waite got the title of the whole
two-ninths, which was set off on the north
side of the island. The line then established
is now from the centre of " Spar Cove," on the
back side of the island, looking to the second
chimney from the north end of the Maine
General Hospital, and the remains of a stone
wall can be seen which divided the land.
This includes all the land about Trefethen's
and Evergreen Landings.
Capt. John Waite was a singular and
eccentric man. He was born in 1700, and was
the son of Jonadab Waite, of Newbury, Mass. ;
was the captain of a coaster that ran between
Falmouth and Boston as early as 1737, and
first lived about where the Portland Company
shops now are. His wife was Sarah Kent, a
daughter of John Kent, Jr., of Newbury, whom
he married in 1724. She died Jan. 22, 1773,
aged 69 years. Captain Waite was selectman
of the town four years. He enjoyed the soli-
tude of the island and built himself a house
near Trefethen's Landing. It is said that he
built two fire-places in one room, one for him-
self and wife and the other for the servant.
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 1 7
In moving to that house he was, as Parson
" Seeking quiet, sought in vain
In courts and crowds of busy men."'
He had ten children and a distinguished
posterity. His children were Benjamin, born
in 1725, who was major in Col. Samuel Waldo,
Jr.'s regiment in 1762 ; Hannah, born in 1727 ;
Sarah, born in 1730; Col. John, Jr., born in
1752; Stephen, born in 1754; Abigail, born
in 1739; Mary, Isaac, Rebecca, and Emma.
Col. John Waite, Jr., married, in 1758,
Hannah Jones, daughter of Phineas Jones,
and she died Dec. 14, 1807, aged 69 years.
They had thirteen children. Colonel Waite
did not reside on the island, but was a large
land owner there for over fifty years.
Colonel Waite was the captain of the
schooner Jolly Philip, and his vessel was in
the expedition to the Bay of Fundy, in 1755,
to remove the Acadians from the Basin of
Minas, and carried a cargo of them to Georgia.
That is a sad story. The transporting of
those poor French people is described as where
"might took the place of right and the weak
were oppressed and the mighty ruled with a
rod of iron." It was when "wives were torn
from their husbands, and mothers, too late,
1 8 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
saw their children left on the land, extending
their arms in the wildest entreaties."
They were the neutral French mentioned
in the histories of those times. Many tears
have been shed for those unfortunate people
by the readers of Longfellow's Evangeline,
and no excuses for that act have been fully
satisfactory, and never will be as long as man
has an atom of human sympathy.
Col. John Waite, Jr., commanded the sloop
Swallow, that was impressed into the Louis-
burg expedition, of 1757, under the Earl of
Loudon, which ended so unsuccessfully and
unsatisfactorily. In 1759 the same vessel
was impressed into the expedition to Quebec,
which was composed of about a hundred sail,
under the command of Commodore Sir Charles
Saunders. Colonel Waite was an eye-witness
to the operations of the siege and saw the fall
of that city when the gallant General Wolfe
Colonel Waite was captain of the battery
in Col. Samuel Waldo, Jr.'s regiment in 1762,
sheriff of the county for over thirty years,
colonel of a regiment of militia at the time of
the Revolutionary War, and a conspicuous
patriot of Falmouth Neck during those trying
times. He died Jan. 20, 1820, aged 88 years>
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 19
having been an active and prominent citizen
Capt. John Waite, the father, was living
on Peaks Island in 1765, and Dr. Deane visited
him and in his journal calls it "Capt. Waite's
Island." The two-ninths of the island came
into the possession of Col. John Waite, Jr., in
1805, and then the other seven-ninths were
owned by Benjamin Trott and Thomas Brack-
ett with his son John. Capt. John Waite died
Nov. 3, 1769, aged 69 years, and was buried
in the Eastern Cemetery.
The balance of the island, or seven-ninths,
which the Court decided belonged to the
Mitton heirs, was the southern part. This
land came into the possession of the Brackett
family, because Thomas and Anthony Brack-
ett married the daughters of Michael Mitton.
On the re-settlement of the town, Thomas
Brackett's grandsons, Anthony and Joshua,
sons of Joshua, returned and claimed their
land, among which was Peaks Island. Joshua
Brackett sold his part of the island to Ben-
jamin Trott, who had married his daughter
Thankful in 1761. The deed was dated Feb.
5, 1762, andfsays together with "my dwelling-
house and barn with appurtenances." The
consideration was £26 13s. 4A. The house
20 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
was a large, two-story wooden one and stood
about opposite the Bay View House, on the
other side of tjie Avenue.
Benjamin Trott sold his land with his
stock of cattle to his sons, Joshua and Benja-
min, Jr., for ^40, Oct. 10, 1784. The division
line between the Bracketts' and the Trotts'
land was in the ravine south of the Bay View
House, where a piece of the wall can still be
seen. This line ran across the island. The
sons, Joshua and Benjamin Trott, Jr., divided
their land in 181 2, the division line running
across the island east to west. Joshua Trott
had the southerly half and Benjamin Trott,
Jr., the northerly half.
Thomas Brackett sold his daughter Mary,
who had married Joseph Reed, two acres with
one-half of the wharf, in 1807. This land
was in front of the present Mineral Spring
House, and that is their house remodeled.
This house may have been built by Thomas
Brackett. The first wharf on the island was
built opposite that land before 1807.
" The heaving tide
In widen'd circles heat on either side."
The Stone House. — Its Location and History. —
"The Refuge." — George Felt, Jr., and his
Massacre. — Indian History.
" 'Tis pleasant, through the loop-holes of retreat,
To peep at such a world."
Munjoy's stone house must have been
located on the southern point of the island,
about four rods northeast of the Brackett
family cemeter}^ fence, on land now owned by
Mrs. Torrington. Its location is an unsettled
point in history, but there can be plainly seen
where sometime a house must have stood,
which is now unknown in tradition or history.
When the late Henry M. Brackett plowed the
land, many years ago, the location of a house
was distinctly marked by the color of the
earth. An iron pot was turned out, with
other articles usually found among the ruins
of an old house. The ashes and charcoal
found plainly indicated the location of the
fire-place. There are clam-shell heaps, near
the bank, which must have been made in the
earliest times. Mrs. Torrington, who came
to the island in 1833, recollects many stones
22 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
about this locality, that have since been
hauled away, that were so arranged as to
indicate that they had been placed about a
The stone house was built there probably
because then there were two houses on House
Island; it was in sight of the settlers at Cape
Elizabeth and the fortified house on Cushing's
Island, which is claimed was then built. It
was a sightly location and could alarm its
builder, George Munjoy, at his garrison house
on Fore Street, west corner of Mountfort, by
guns or fire. It was almost in range of the
fortified house on Jewells Island. These
houses may not all have been built until after
this one, but it shows that there was a plan
in their location. An examination of the
island shows no other foundation of a house
where a family would have been likely to
have lived several years in those times.
"The Refuge," so-called, off from Central
Avenue, a few rods southeast of Robert M.
Gould's cottage, has nothing about it to indi-
cate a dwelling-house. It was probably a
place of refuge in the time of the Revolution
to which the soldiers and the owners drove
their sheep and cattle to hide them from the
British cruisers who were prowling about our
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 23
coast. The traditions indicate that. The stones
were said, by the older people, to have been
piled into the form of a house, but the}^ were
probably put there for protection against the
weather or for a place to defend themselves in
case they were attacked.
In September, 18 14, when the British fleet
was hovering off our harbor and was expected
to attack Portland, the inhabitants of the
island thought that they might be obliged to
leave their homes for safety, and preparations
were made to go to "The Refuge," on the
other side of the island, as their fathers had
done, but the fleet never came.
The stone house was occupied several
years by John Palmer and his family, until
they were driven off by the Indians in the
King Philip War, in 1675. Then the house
was probabfy abandoned. The next year the
tragedy in which George Felt, Jr., and six
others lost their lives occurred on this point.
Felt lived at Mussel Cove, now in the town of
Falmouth. He was the son of George Felt,
of Broad Bay, and in 1662 married Philippa
Andrews, daughter of Samuel and Jane An-
drews. Jane Andrews married for her second
husband Arthur Mackworth, for whom the
island of his name was called.
24 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
George Felt, Jr., fled from his home in the
summer of 1676, because he saw the smoke
of the burning buildings of the other settlers,
that had been fired by the Indians. He
carried his family to Cushing's Island, then
called James Andrews' Island, where they, no
doubt, found others who had also left their
homes. Here they were soon reduced almost
to starvation, as they had been unable to bring
much food with them. The men were forced
to go to Peaks Island for sheep for food,
understanding the danger. They went on a
Saturday and the scene that followed is best
described by Hubbard, who wrote of it the
very next year. George Felt, Jr., went "soon
after to Mount Jo}^es Island (Peaks) to fetch
sheep, where they landed seven men ; but the
Indians presently set upon them, they pres-
ently betook themselves to the ruins of a
Stone House, where they defended themselves
as long as they could, but at last they were
all destroyed either with stones cast upon
them or else with the enemies shot, except
one, who though at first it was hoped that his
wounds were not mortal yet soon after died
thereof. Among them was George Felt much
lamented, who had been more active than any
other man in those parts against the Indians,
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 25
but at last lost his life amongst them in this
too desperate adventure."
Richard Martin, in his letter at the time,
said that some of the party were burned in
the house. The house was set on fire by the
Indians and destroyed. Little do we realize
now the terror that this event caused among
the remaining women and children then left
on Cushing's Island, who had lost their hus-
bands and protectors. Felt's wife removed to
Salem, Mass., married twice there, and died
in 1709. He was about thirty-seven years
of age and left four children. The story of
his father's life is a pitiful one in connection
with the history of North Yarmouth.
In writing of the times my father quoted
the following passage of scripture: a In those
times there was no peace to him that went out
nor to him that came in, but great vexations
were upon all the inhabitants of the country."
In 1688 another Indian war broke out, one
cause of which was Governor Andross, in the
frigate Rose, robbing Baron Castin's residence
at Bagaduce, now Castine, Me. In September,
1689, Joseph Prout wrote that there were two
hundred Indians then on Palmer's (Peaks)
Island. Major Benjamin Church, the hero of
the Swamp Fight in Rhode Island in 1675
26 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
(the descendants of some of the soldiers in
that battle were granted the townships of
Gorhani and Buxton), was sent here with a
force to defend Falmonth from an attack.
The Indians had massacred the inmates of
the garrison at Cocheco, now Dover, N. H.,
June 27th, and murdered Major Richard Wal-
dron with many others. They accused him
of cheating them by not crossing off their
accounts at settlement and for using his fist
in the scales when he was weighing and call-
ing it a pound. He defended himself with
his sword from room to room until he was
overpowered by the savages. They took off
his clothes, placed him in an arm-chair on a
table and proceeded to torture him in the
most cruel manner. The Indians obliged the
family to get them a supper while they were
dealing with Major Waldron. He was then
seventy-four years of age. They gashed his
breast with their knives saying, as they did
so, "I cross off my accounts, " and then cut-
ting off his finger joints said to him, " Now
will your fist weigh a pound? " They cut off
his nose and ears and forced them into his
mouth until he became faint from loss of
blood. Then they killed him with his own
sword. The Indians killed twenty-three and
carried away captive twenty-nine.
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 2J
Major Waldron's daughter Esther, then
twenty-five years of age, the Indians probably
took at that time. She had married first
Henry Elkins, who died soon after their mar-
riage, and in 1686 she married Abraham Lee,
whom the Indians killed at the same time
they did her father. Mrs. Lee was found at
Peaks Island with the Indians by a Dutch
privateer in September. What that young
woman underwent in that three months will
probabty never be known, but her sufferings
in mind and body must have been terrible.
She was ransomed from the Indians by the
captain of the privateer, who took her on
board his vessel, where she was found by
Colonel Church, who of course proceeded to
interview her as to the number and intentions
of the Indians. She said that the party of In-
dians that she came with to Palmer's Island
had eighty canoes and that she did not see
all. The Indians told her that when they all
got together they would have seven hundred
men. This may be an overestimate of the
number there. Captain Davis said there
were three or four hundred. She could not
tell whether Baron Castin was with them or
not, but said that there were several French-
men in the party. The Indians were probably
28 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
the Norridgewocks, Canadas, and Penobscots,
and their place of rendezvous was Palmer's,
now Peaks, Island. The}^ were there for a
purpose. Mrs. Lee, after leaving Casco Bay,
married Richard Jose, the sheriff of the prov-
ince, and outlived him and married the fourth
time, went across the ocean, and died on the
Island of Jersey.
The Indians had been assembling several
days on Palmer's (Peaks) Island, preparing
to attack Fort L^tyal and the settlement on
the Neck, now Portland. They probably had
little rest in the night of Oct. 20th, as they
must have been early astir. Peaks Island
never saw another such a night as that.
Hundreds of Indians in their war paint and
feathers were preparing for a surprise. It
was long before the dawn of da}^ that they
were quietly embarking in their canoes to
make their attack on the rear of the town.
They were armed with guns and were expert
marksmen. Josselyn says several years before
this that "it was a poor Indian that did not
have two guns." They probably proceeded
around Munjoy Hill into Back Cove, landed
on its western shore, and were soon dis-
covered by twelve camp fires, seen by the
Bracketts, when they were preparing their
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 29
morning meal before making the attack.
They proceeded to Brackett's, now the Deer-
ing farm, and were there at dawn of day,
when a battle was fonght between Colonel
Church's soldiers and the Indians, during
which the latter were driven off and the town
saved, to be destroyed the following year.
John Palmer was wounded in this battle, but
not seriously, as he attended a council of war
This is the last record of the Indians occu-
pying Peaks Island, but it must have been a
place of common resort for them during the
years that so many were about the bay,
which is confirmed by the traditions.
There was an Indian battle on Jewells
Island in September, 1676. A party of Indi-
ans from Arrowsic attacked a party of settlers
who had fled to that island, on which was a
fortified house, for safety. The settlers, feel-
ing secure, were surprised, but after a stub-
born fight drove the Indians off, several
being killed, while but three of the English
lost their lives. Two women and two children
were taken away by the Indians.
Those brave early settlers who stayed by
their homes and their lands, and contested
their right to occupy them for the purposes of
30 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
civilization, laid the foundation of our state.
They must have been conscious of the service
they were rendering to posterity or they would
have abandoned those rude homes and lived in
more secure places.
" All these scenes do I behold,
These, and many left untold."
Revolutionary Alarm. — Shipwreck. — Harbor Froz-
en. — A Hermit. — Soldiers of the Rebellion. —
Religious Meetings. — Home of the Ancestors
of Two Famous Americans.
" Never mortal builder's hand
This enduring fabric planned."
The tradition that a company of sol-
diers of the Revolution paraded on the island
is probably true. When Capt. Henry Mowat,
with his fleet of five vessels, arrived in our
harbor, on the 16th of October, 1775, they
anchored near the islands, which must have
been in front of Peaks Island, in Hog Island
Roads, between House and Hog Islands. This
was in plain view of Benjamin Trott's and
Thomas Brackett's houses. Three men de-
serted from the fleet to Hog Island in a boat,
and delivered themselves up to the militia
with their boat. They were Charles Stuart,
quartermaster, John Elliot and Daniel Sheet-
land, foremastmen. The people of Falmouth
Neck, now Portland, then supposed that the
fleet had come for sheep and cattle for the
32 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
British forces in Boston. There were large
stocks of cattle on the islands, and for their
protection a large portion of Capt. Joseph
Noyes' and Capt. Samuel Knights' companies,
then stationed on the Neck, were quietly sent,
at dusk, to guard the sheep, cattle, and hay
there. The next day the wind was strong and
the vessels warped up and anchored off the
town. Late that afternoon the inhabitants of
the Neck learned that their, then defenseless,
town was to be destroyed. They had no means
of defense, not a gun mounted, and were almost
destitute of powder. The town could have
been occupied without destroying it, but
Mowat had secured orders to "burn, sink, and
destroy, 1 ' and proceeded to do it. He remem-
bered the "Thompson War" of the May
before. The burning of Falmouth Neck made
patriots of all its inhabitants, and placed
Mowat's name, to an American, among the
cruel tyrants of history.
The saddest event that has happened on
the island in the memory of those now living
was the wreck of the schooner Helen Eliza,
of Gloucester, Mass., Capt. Edward Millett,
of Rockport, Mass., in the great gale of Sept.
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 33
8, 1869. She parted her cables and was
driven ashore in the darkness on to the rocks
on the ontside of the island. The crew took
to the waves, bnt of the twelve aboard, only
one, Charles Jordan, of Rockport, sncceeded
in reaching the shore alive. Ten of the bodies
were recovered. The captain's body was
found in a cove on the harbor side of the
island. The vessel was ground to pieces on
the rocks and strewed along the shore. Long-
fellow in his poem, "The Wreck of the Hes-
perus," describes vividly this wreck on Peaks
"Down came the storm, and smote amain
The vessel in its strength ;
She shuddered and paused like a frightened steed,
Then leaped her cable's length.
"The breakers were right beneath her bows,
She drifted a dreary wreck,
And a whooping billow swept the crew
Like icicles from her deck."
The harbor is seldom frozen hard enough
for persons to cross the ice to the city. The
writer crossed on the ice from the city and
returned the same way, Feb. 15, 1875. That
day a sleigh with two persons went from the
city and returned with safety. William T.
Jones then said that the last team he remem-
34 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
bered coining to the island was about 1845,
about thirty years before.
Solomon Bartlett, an old but a robust
man, lived a hermit's life on the Waite land,
back in the woods, about fifty years ago. He
was a squatter. After he had lived there
nearly twenty years, nearly long enough to
establish a claim to the land, the young men
of the island, while he was away at one time,
took up his house bodily and placed it on a
barren ledge, where he found it on his return.
This had the desired effect and he left the
SOLDIERS OF THE REBELLION.
In the War of the Rebellion the following
young men of the island entered the service
of their country : James W. Brackett, Wesley
Scott, and Andrew Fisher served in the gal-
lant First Maine Cavalry Regiment. Wesley
Scott was captured by the enemy and died in
Salisbury Prison, Jan. 2, 1865, aged 19 years,
6 months, and 22 days, and a monument was
erected to his memory in the Biackett Ceme-
tery. Gilman L. Brackett served in the Coast
Guards and John T. Sterling served on the
steamboat Greyhound on the James River.
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 35
A few years ago Wilber F. Ricker found
on the shore on the outside of the island two
cannon balls which were badly rust eaten.
One was about the size of a twelve-pound
solid shot and the other was egg shaped, with
a ruffle on the largest diameter. How they
came there is a matter of conjecture, but they
evidently had laid in the water many years.
One was added to the collection of war relics
of the Fifth Maine Regiment Association and
the other is in possession of the finder.
The regimental buildings, on the shore
opposite White Head, are of no particular
historic interest in themselves, but they have
been built by the survivors of two of Maine's
bravest regiments in the Rebellion. Those
men have made good history for our state,
and "they have dared to walk with death"
that we might have a united country.
The Fifth Maine Regiment was known as
a fighting one, and no place was too hot for
them. All that is necessary to say of their
bravery is that they were one of the twelve
picked regiments in the " Bloody Angle " at
Spottsylvania, which was said to have been
36 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
the bloodiest conflict of the war. The}^ took
more prisoners during their service than they
ever had names on their rolls, and captured
six battle flags on line of battle in a hand-to-
hand fight with the enemy. In their building
they have one of the best collections of war
relics in this part of the country.
The Eighth Maine Regiment bows to none
for valor shown on the battle field. The sur-
vivors can tell of the bombardment of Port
Royal and Charleston, how they raised their
flag over Fort Pulaski, what they did at
Drury's Bluff, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and
how they, under General Sheridan, helped
chase Lee's army to their surrender at Appo-
mattox. Their tattered battle flags are now
silent witnesses that are proudly treasured by
our state. Neither of these regiments lost
Up to 1832 the religious services were
held in a hall that was used for all other pur-
poses. That year the first school-house was
built on Peaks Island, and for eighteen years
served also for a meeting-house. The Rev.
Stephen Bennett was the pioneer minister.
He used to row every other Sunday from
Chebeague Island to preach to the people in
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 37
the school-house. He was an eccentric and
earnest man who was interested in the good
of his fellow-man. He was outspoken in his
remarks, frank in conversation, and had the
respect and esteem of all. He married, in
1854, Mrs. Mary A. W. Winship, of Portland,
where, it is said, he finally moved and died.
In 1850 a new school-house was built,
which also served for the meetings. It was
dedicated by proper services and Rev. Benja-
min Freeman preached the dedicatory sermon.
In i860 Rev. W. N. Richardson, a Methodist,
was appointed pastor, and Nov. 15th a Meth-
odist Episcopal Church was organized. The
present church was soon built, and dedicated
July 25, 1861. Rev. C. C. Cone, the Presiding
Elder, preached the sermon at the dedication.
Rev. C. W. Blackman was appointed pastor
in 1862 and remained two years. Rev. Joseph
Hawkes followed him in 1864, and in 1865
Rev. B. Freeman was the preacher and re-
mained three years. He was an earnest and
faithful man, who was much interested in the
welfare of the people. In 1868 Rev. Asbury
C. Trafton was the pastor and remained three
years. In 187 1 Rev. J. H.Trask was appointed
and remained two years. Rev. John C. Perry
followed him in 1873 and then the parsonage
38 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
The following pastors were subsequently
appointed: Rev. Hezekiah Chase, 1876-78;
Rev. True P. Adams, 1879-81; Rev. Charles
S. Parsons, 1882-84, and then in 1885 followed
Rev. J. B. Lapham, and after him came Rev.
Kinsman Atkinson, Rev. John Collins, and
then the Rev. Frank W. Smith, the present
pastor. By the efforts of the members of the
congregation a bell was purchased and put
into the tower in 1886.
The Second Advent Society has held
meetings in the town hall for several years
under different preachers.
THE HOME OF THE ANCESTORS OF TWO
Peaks Island can claim to have been the
home of the ancestors of at least two famous
John Lothrop Motley, the historian and
diplomat, the friend of Bismarck, who died in
1877, was the son of Thomas Motley, Jr., of
the firm of noted merchants of Boston, Thomas
and Edward Motley. He was the great-grand-
son of Capt. John Waite, through his young-
est daughter, Emma, who married Thomas
Motley, senior, for her second husband.
The Hon. Thomas Brackett Reed, who, as
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 39
Speaker of the National House of Represent-
atives, is next in power to the President, and
who has demonstrated his fitness for the high-
est office under our government, is a son of
Peaks Island. It has been the home of his
father, grandfather, and great-grandfather,
and he is a descendant of George Cleeve, the
first settler of Portland.
The rugged experiences of their ancestors
laid the foundation of the lives of the success-
ful men of Maine who have honored their old
homes and the homes of their fathers.
" There is no place like the old place where you and I were born!
Where we lifted first our eyelids on the splendors of the morn."
Steamboat Lines. — Steamers Kennebec, Antelope,
Casco, Gazelle, and others.
"Honor to those whose words or deeds
Thus helped us in our daily needs."
The first attempt to run a steamboat to
the islands was in the year 1822, by Capt.
Seward Porter. This was one year before he
brought the steamer Patent here. The steam-
boat was called the Kennebec, but was nick-
named the " Horned Hog." It was the old
hull of a flat-bottomed craft with a small and
imperfect engine in it.
It was a great novelty to go to the islands
without sails or oars and drew crowds of
passengers from the little town. It was no
uncommon occurrence for the engine to refuse
to drive the boat against the tide, and it had
to be assisted by the passengers treading the
paddle-wheels round, which was easity done as
they were uncovered. The following couplet
was written at the time by a local rhymster :
"A fig for all your clumsy craft,
Your pleasure boats and packets ;
The steamboat lands you, safe and soon,
At Mansfield's, Trott's, or Brackett's.
"And down below they keep the stuff,
And everything is handy;
My jolly boys, I'll tell you what,
That steamboat is a dandy."
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 4 1
Several years before any attempt was made
to run a regular line to Peaks Island, a small
steamboat came here from Saco and ran for a
short time, one summer, for transient parties
to the islands.
In 1850 Horatio G. Cook, a boat builder
and machinist, who was born in Portland, in
December, 18 15, and whose father was of the
same name, built the steamboat Antelope, to
run to the islands. She was fifty-five feet
long, eight feet wide, and the hull was thirty
inches deep. She had a three-horse power
engine, and could carry one hundred passen-
gers. This steamer was a side-wheeler and
ran two summers.
In the winter of 185 1-2 Mr. Cook built the
steamboat Casco, which was about seventy-
five feet long, twelve feet wide, and the hull
was four feet deep. She had a horizontal
engine of two twelve-inch cylinders and a two-
foot stroke. This steamer was also a side-
wheeler, as were all of the steamboats Mr.
Cook built, and could carry three hundred
passengers. The Casco ran to Peaks and
Cushing's Islands until the winter of 1 860-1,
when Mr. Cook built the steamboat Favorite.
Cyrus F. Sands became a partner with Mr.
Cook in this and the following boat. The
42 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
Favorite was about one hundred feet long,
fourteen feet wide, and the hull was six feet
deep. She had the same engines that were
in the Casco, whose hull was then laid up.
The engines were geared up three to one to
increase the power. This boat could carry
four hundred passengers. She ran two years
and then went into the hands of the govern-
ment and was used South during the war.
Later this steamer was brought to Boston,
where she was changed to a propeller and was
finally destroyed by fire.
In 1863 an engine was put into the old
hull of the Casco and she ran to the islands
that summer. In the winter of 1863-4 Mr.
Cook built the Gazelle, and the Casco went
to Freeport and was finally cut up. The
Gazelle was one hundred and five feet long,
eighteen feet wide, and the hull was six feet
deep. Her engine had a two-foot cylinder and
four-foot stroke. She could then carry eight
hundred passengers. This steamer ran to the
islands several years, then was lengthened
twenty feet, when she could carry one thou-
sand passengers, although she was limited to
six hundred. Her name was changed to the
Forest City, and her last season was in 1895,
since which she has been sold and went to
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 43
Baltimore. Messrs. Cook and Sands disposed
of their interest in this boat in 1874.
Before i860 there was a stern-wheel steam-
boat named the Clinton that came here from
the Kennebec River and ran as an opposition
boat part of one summer. The stern-wheeler
Teaser also ran one summer to Scott's Landing.
William Oxnard ran the steamer Island
Queen two summers, when she was burned
and he built the Gipsy Queen, using the
same engines, but they were not large enough
for the hull. This line landed at Brackett's
Landing, opposite White Head, but did not
run long. There have been other opposition
boats that have been taken off after running
a short time.
In 187 1 the Peaks Island Steamboat Com-
pany was formed and built the steamer Ex-
press, which was placed in charge of Capt.
A. S. Oliver. This company was composed
mostly of people who lived on the island, and
the object was to establish a line to run the
entire year. The Express was a propeller and
fitted for towing when not employed on the
route. This was a successful enterprise as
long as they confined themselves to this boat.
An opposition line was established by C. H.
Knowlton, and he ran the propellers Tourist
44 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
and Minnehaha several years. These boats
with the Express and the Forest City, with
their rights and privileges, were all absorbed
into one conipan}^ which is now represented
by the Casco Bay Steamboat Company and is
giving satisfactory service.
Capt. Alfred S. Oliver, the veteran of the
island line, was born in Georgetown, Me., in
1832. He went to California in 1850 and
commenced steamboating on the Sacramento
River. He returned to Maine and went into
the tow-boat business. Captain Oliver first
ran to the islands in the steamer Lily, in
1870, and she was burned after running but
one season. He then became captain of the
Express, in 1871, and has continued on the
route under the successive companies since
that time. He has always been a pleasant
and courteous officer to the patrons of the
several lines, and is remembered as the cap-
tain who did his whole duty, with his boat, in
the great steamboat fire of 1873.
For nearly twenty years the steamboats
were run but about three months' time, from
the middle of June until the middle of Sep-
tember, but since 187 1 there have been regu-
lar trips run all the year round. For many
years the steamers touched only at Peaks and
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 45
Cushing's Islands, but new lines have been
put on until nearly every island of any con-
siderable size in Casco Bay is now touched by
some steamer during the season.
"A ship is a thing
That you never can be quiet in,
By wind or steam
It's all the same,
'Twas so with me."
Family Histories. — Brackett, Trott, Woodbury,
Parsons, Jones, Skillings, Sterling, Trefethen,
"There is history in all men's lives."
The people of a locality make its history,
and a history of the people is almost a his-
tory of that locality. Those who settled early
on Peaks Island were mostly hardy fisher-
men's families or those that went down to the
sea in ships. They were people who knew the
secrets of the sea as only those can know who
brave its dangers. They were the Waites,
Bracketts, Trotts, Woodburys, Parsons, Ster-
lings, Welchs, Jones, Trefethens, Skillings,
Scotts, and others, who have come and gone,
and each has done his part, humble or other-
wise, in the battle of life.
It is fitting that the story of their lives
should be preserved, that those who come after
them may know who they were and what
were the events in their lives that went to
make up the histor}^ of the island while they
lived. They were a settlement by themselves
and shared each other's joys and sorrows.
They saw the sun rise from out of the sea and
the ocean was their highway.
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 47
It is a story of the fathers who have
passed beyond or are stepping one side for
the 3^onnger generation to assume the respon-
sibilities of life. All is not told and never
will be, as much that would now interest us
died with them.
The Brackett family is the most promi-
nent one in the history of Peaks Island. It
was known as Brackett's Island for man}^
years. The family are descendants of George
Cleeve, the first settler of Portland, and as a
family have been modest, unassuming, and
honorable. They have sealed their right to
Cleeve's land by their own blood.
The two first settlers of the name at
Falmouth were killed by the Indians while
defending their homes. Bracketts served
through the French and Indian Wars, were
at the siege of Louisburg in 1745, and several
from Old Falmouth served in the Revolution-
ary Army. The long list of their names on
the rolls of our state in the late Rebellion
shows that the spirit of patriotism has not
departed from the family.
The emigrant ancestor was Anthony
Brackett, who came to Boston from Scotland
48 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
about 1629 and was called "the Selectman."
He was at Portsmouth, N. H., in 1640. His
sons, Anthony and Thomas, came to Fal-
mouth probably before 1662. Anthony mar-
ried Anne Mitton, and Thomas, her sister
Mary, daughters of Michael Mitton, whose
wife was Elizabeth Cleeve, a daughter of
George Cleeve, who with Richard Tucker
settled Portland in 1633. After the death of
Mitton, his widow married a Harvey. Her
other children were Elizabeth, who married
Thaddeus Clark, and Martha, wife of John
Thomas Brackett was killed at Clark's
Point, where the Gas House now is, by the
Indians, Aug. 11, 1676, and his wife, Mary
Mitton, and her children were carried off b}^
the Indians and she died within a year. Her
children returned to the Piscataqua River,
now Portsmouth, N. H. Thomas' son Joshua,
who was about two years of age at the time
of his capture, was the father of Joshua, Jr.,
and Anthony, of whom the Bracketts and
Trotts of Peaks Island are descendants. The
same day that Thomas Brackett was killed,
his brother Anthony and wife, Anne Mitton,
were captured with their children on their
farm, now the Deering farm, and carried away
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 49
by the Indians. Her brother, Nathaniel Mit-
ton, resisted and was killed. He was the last
of the family name here. The escape of
Anthony Brackett and his family in an old
canoe is a matter of history. It is said it was
through her penetration and fortitude that
the escape was effected, and as Willis says
" places her in the rank of heroic women."
They went to the Piscataqua River, his father's
home, but returned to Falmouth in 1679. He
became a selectman, captain of a company,
and was killed in the battle on his farm in
October, 1689. He has descendants living in
the vicinity of Portland.
Joshua Brackett, Jr., grandson of Thomas,
was born at Greenland, N. H., in 1701, came
to Falmouth before 1728, and lived in a log
house about where Gray Street now is, where
by industry and frugality he improved his
condition, and then built a frame house about
opposite the head of High Street, on Con-
gress, where he lived and died in March, 1794,
aged 93 years. His fifth child, iMtivm^ born
in 1737, married, in 1761, Benjamin Trott and
soon moved to Peaks Island. They are the
ancestors of the family of that name there
and from whom their land on the island was
50 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
Anthony Brackett, brother to Joshua, Jr.,
born in 1707, probably came to Falmouth
before 1728. He married, first, Sarah Knight,
in 1733, and second, in 1756, Widow Keren-
happuck (Proctor) Hicks, who died in 1822,
at Gorham, aged 93 years. He lived near
the corner of Brackett and Danforth Streets,
where he died Sept. 10, 1784, aged yy years,
and was buried on his farm, but his body was
taken up, about 1850, and removed to Peaks
Island, where he was laid near his descend-
ants in the Brackett Cemetery. He owned
all the land on the southeast side of Congress
Street from about Oak to Vaughan Streets,
and his brother Joshua owned all the land on
the northwest side of Congress Street from
below Casco to Stroudwater Bridge. Anthony
had ten children, John, Thomas, James, Mary,
Joshua, Elizabeth, Kezia, Samuel, Nathaniel,
and Sarah. The oldest son was Capt. John
Brackett, of Col. Edmund Phinney's regiment,
who died in the army in September, 1775. The
second son, Thomas, born in 1744, is the ances-
tor of all the Bracketts of Peaks Island. He
married, in 1762, Jane Hall, from Narraguagus,
now Cherry field, Me., and probably moved to
the island before the Revolutionary War.
They were living there in 1782, when his
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 5 1
father transferred to him all his interest in
Peaks Island. His wife, Jane, died in 18 10,
aged 70 years, and Thomas Brackett died in
18 15, aged 71 years.
Their children were: John, born in 1763,
who married, in 1789, Lucy Snow, daughter
of David Snow, of Orleans, Mass., a soldier
of the Revolution. Elizabeth, born in 1766,
married Capt. James Sawyer, and died in 1799,
aged 33 years. Sarah, married, in 1789, John
Fabyan, who was her cousin, born in 1766.
He was the son of Joshua, Esq., and Sarah
(Brackett) Fabyan, of Scarborough. John
Fabyan lived at Scarborough, had fourteen
children, and died at Leeds, Me., about 1833,
aged 67 years. Patience, born in 1775, and
died, unmarried, March 10, 1794, aged 19
years. Mar}-, born in 1776, and married, in
1796, Joseph Reed. He was an intelligent
and respected citizen. They were the grand-
parents of Hon. Thomas B. Reed.
The children of John and Lucy (Snow)
Brackett were: Jane H., born in 1791, married
Capt. Charles Bradbury, in 1825, had no chil-
dren, and died in 1826. John, Jr., born in
1794, and married, in 1817, Mary A. Hadlock.
Mary S., born in 1796, married, in 1816,
George D. Welch, and, in 1848, Ira Hilborn,
52 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
of Minot. Thomas, born in 1799, who died
in 1819. David, born in 1800, who died in
1804. Sally C, born in 1802, who married
Francis B. Smith, in 1826, bnt had no chil-
dren. Lncinda S., born in 1804, who married
Benjamin Welch in 1825. Almira, born in
1807, and died in 1819. James S., born in
1 8 10, who married Ann Margaret Jones, sister
of William T. Jones, in 1838, and had bnt one
child, James W. Brackett. James S. Brackett
died in 1839, aged 29 years, and his wife died
in 1850, aged 37 years. The youngest child
was Henry M., born in 181 2, who married
Sarah M. Hadlock, in 1833, bnt had no chil-
dren. John Brackett died Dec. 1, 1835, aged
72 years, and his wife, Lncy, died June 15,
1842, aged 75 years.
The children of Joseph and Mary (Brack-
ett) Reed were: Mary B., born in 1800, who
married Walter S. Hatch in 1821. Elizabeth
S., born in 1802, who married, in 1823, Nath-
aniel S. Millett. Thomas B., born in 1803,
who married, in 1838, Matilda P. Mitchell,
and died in 1887, aged 83 years. Joseph, Jr.,
born in 1806. Jane, born in 1807. Smith,
born in 1809. William, born in 181 1. Daniel
born in 18 13. Lydia W., born in 18 14, who
married Abraham T. Sterling, in 1841, and
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 53
Emily P., born in 1819, who married, in 1841,
William S. Trefethen. Joseph Reed died
April 1, 1852, aged 82 years, and his wife,
Mary, died Nov. 13, i860, aged 84 years.
The children of John, Jr., and Mary A.
(Hadlock) Bracket! were: Seth H., born in
1 8 18, married, in 1843, Elizabeth A. L. Libby,
and died in 1877. Sarah H., born in 182 1,
married Joseph Trefethen, in 1838, and died
in 1868. He was a nephew of Henry Tre-
fethen, of Honse Island, and died in 1884,
aged 69 years. John Thomas, born in 1823,
married Eunice A. Randall, in 1846, and died
in 1894. Samuel H., born in 1825, married
Sophia Cressey, in 1854, and died in 1875.
William S., born in 1827, married Adelia P.
Harmon, in 1850, and died in 1886. Elijah E.
H., born in 1830, and died in 1837. Henry E.
H., born in 1832, married, first, in 1856, Julia
E. Hsley, and second, in i8$8, Margie Clif-
ford. James G. H., born in 1835, and died
the same year. Albert, born in 1836, and died
in 1840. Gilnian L., born in 1840, married,
in 1862, Mary Ann Libby, and lives on the
island. Mary A., born in 1842, and died in
1847. Epps G. H., born in 1846, married, in
1867, Mary E. Rice, of Cranberry Isles.
John Brackett, Jr., lived at one time on
54 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
Island Avenue, near the Parsons' land, west
side of the island. The cellar of his house
can still be seen on the east side of the Ave-
nue. He, with Henry Parsons, built the
stone wall that is now near the cellar. John
Brackett, Jr., died May 21, 1869, aged 75
years, and his wife, Mary A., died May 18,
1880, aged 79 years. The heirs of John
Brackett, Jr., own about forty-five acres of
land on the island between the Welch and
Hilborn land and the Trott line in front of
the Bay View House, across the island, from
shore to shore.
George D. and Mary S. (Brackett) Welch
had one daughter, Almira B., who married
William T. Jones for his first wife. George
D. Welch died Oct. 26, 1828, aged 33 years,
and his wife, Mary S., died Sept. 24, 187 1,
aged 75 years.
Benjamin and Lucinda S. (Brackett)
Welch had five children : Benjamin, Jr., born
in 1827. Lucy Elizabeth, born in 1828, and
married James J. Knowlton in 1849. Susan
Jane, who died young. Mary Adeline, born
in 183 1, who married, in 1852, Charles S.
Adams, who died in 1880, aged 54 years.
George Deake Welch, born in 1833. Lucinda
S. (Brackett) Welch died in 1837, aged 33
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 55
years. Mrs. Adams lives at Peaks Island.
Her two brothers and sister live in California.
Henry M. Brackett died Nov. 1, 1871, aged
59 years. His widow, Sarah M., who was a
niece of John Brackett, Jr.'s, wife, married, in
1877, Dr. James Torrington, and they reside
in the house on the sonth side of the island.
She came from the Cranberry Isles and was
the daughter of Samuel, Jr., and Eunice
(Richardson) Hadlock, of Bass Harbor. She
is the oldest resident of the island, and was
born in 18 15. The house in which she lives
was built by Henry M. Brackett, about 1836,
and the house at the south oLit was built by
Seth H. Brackett, his *hym&&, about 1853,
which was the first boarding-house built on
the island. There was formerly a wharf and
landing near these houses, to which the
steamers ran regular trips, but it has fallen
to decay and is now gone.
Mrs. Mary A. (Welch) Adams is the only
one of the Welch and Hilborn heirs living on
their land here. Their possessions amount
to about eighty-five acres and run from shore
to shore, but not in a straight line. It extends
from the Union House to Greenwood Garden
and is a public playground for all. The cot-
tage lots are all leased. The house in which
56 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
she lives was formerly called the ''children's
house," because their mother died when they
were young and left them the house. They
were always spoken of as "the children."
The house has been rebuilt, but originally it
was a house that was taken down at Cape Eliz-
abeth and brought to the island about 1829.
The dwelling-house of James W. Brackett,
in Greenwood Garden, was built by his mother,
Mrs. James S. Brackett, in 1847. He owns
the Garden and the land back, holding its
width, to the back shore, amounting to over
forty acres. Mrs. Torrington owns all the
land, excepting three lots which she has sold,
beyond James W. Brackett's to the southeast
shore. She has about ninety acres of land in
The descendants of Thomas Brackett, of
Peaks Island, own, altogether, about two hun-
dred and sixty acres of land on the island
that they and their ancestors have owned for
two hundred and sixty years. It came from
George Cleeve, the first settler of Portland,
and is a record of constancy of which the
family have a right to feel proud.
" O land that once my fathers trod,
O sires I cannot see !
May I your future make as dear
As you the past to me! "
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 57
The Trott family were among the earliest
to make Peaks Island their home. Benjamin
Trott and his wife, Thankful Brackett, prob-
ably moved there in 1762.
John Trott, the first of the name at Old
Falmouth, was probably the son of Samuel
and Marcia Trott, and grandson of Thomas
Trott, of Dorchester, Mass. He was born
Dec. 20, 1700, and was there before 1725. His
wife's name was Lydia. He had thirty acres
of land granted him, on the eastern side of
Long Creek in 1727, three acres more the next
year, and in 1729 ten acres additional. Their
children were: Abigail, born in 1725, and
married, in 1743, William Pitman. Benjamin,
born in 1726, who died young. John, born in
1727. Lydia, born in 1729, and married, in
1757, Solomon Avery. Thomas, born in 173 1,
and married, in 1759, Sarah Knapp. Deliver-
ance, born in 1733, who died young. Mary,
born in 1735. Benjamin, born in 1737, who
married, in 1761, Thankful Brackett and went
to Peaks Island, and Deliverance, born in 1738,
who married, in 1755, Mathew Tobin.
Thomas Trott was a cordwainer, and in
1 76 1 bought a farm at Windham, where he
moved soon after. He was selectman there
58 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
in 1 7 74-^76, '77 and '80, and in the Revolu-
tionary War was captain of the town company
of militia. He died there in 182 1, aged 90
years, and his wife in 1837, aged 97 years.
Benjamin Trott had sons Benjamin, Jr., and
Joshua, and daughters Betsey, who married
Daniel Bartlett, of Freeport, in 1707; Mary,
who married Samuel Rand ; Abigail, who mar-
ried Samuel Woodbury, and Thankful.
Benjamin Trott, Jr., married, in 1799,
Susannah Bartlett, and their children were:
Samuel, who married, in 1835, Jane B. Par-
sons. Benjamin, who married Ann Bennett,
in 1824. Thomas B., who married, in 1840,
Deborah Lincoln. Betsey, who married, in
1824, David White. Sarah Ann, who married
George Trott, in 1835, and Lydia, who mar-
ried, in 1826, Obadiah Eastman.
Joshua Trott married, in 1799, Elizabeth
Bartlett, and had the following children:
William ; Daniel, who married Saral Bartol,
in 1835; George, who married, in 1835, Sarah
Ann Trott, his cousin; Jane, who married
Michael Rawley, in 1826; Polly, who married
John Rawley, in 1825, and Sally, who mar-
ried, in 1827, Abraham Murray.
One of the mothers of the island, of poetic
turn of mind, made the following rhyme about
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 59
the marriages of the daughters of this family,
by which those now grandfathers remember
their names :
"John Rawley married Polly,
Mike married Jane,
Abraham Murray married Sally,
I am sure they needn't complain."
The Woodbury family were among the
early people of Peaks Island. Samuel Wood-
bury, the first of the name there, probably
came from Beverly, Mass., at latest, early in
this century. He married Abigail Trott,
daughter of Benjamin and Thankful (Brack-
ett) Trott, who, no doubt, was born on the
island. It is thought that Samuel Woodbury
was at first a farmer for, or tenant of, Col.
John Waite. Later there was probably an
arrangement made with Colonel Waite's heirs
that after the payment of a certain sum, in
installments, the Woodburys should have a
deed of the Waite land. The children were :
Benjamin, who married Lydia Avery, in 181 3,
had a son, Robert, and died on Long Island.
William, who married Thankful Rand, a sis-
ter to Samuel Rand, and died on the island.
James, who married Lucy Johnson, in 1833, a
sister to Alexander Johnson, Jr., who had a
60 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
daughter, Eliza Jane, who married Bradley P.
Wallace, in 1854, and a son, James F. Wood-
bury. James Woodbury died at Long Island.
Francis, born in 1801, never married, but
after his father's death was always called
"Sam," and who died Oct. 6, 1861, aged 60
years. Joshua, who never married. Charles,
born in 1802, who married, first, Ruth Day, of
Phipsburg, Me., in. 1825, wno died ^ n x 868,
aged 63 years. He married, second, Cynthia
Doughty, in 1869, and died Nov. 24, 1870,
aged 68' years, and left descendants. There
were two daughters, Nancy, who married Mr.
Hatch and died about 1832, and Thankful,
who never married. William lived where the
Oceanic House stands and Charles nearly to
The}' labored many years, having in view
the payments for the land. Samuel Wood-
bury lived in a log house that stood where
the "Wallace house" stands, on Island Ave-
nue, south of Trefethen's Landing. Joshua
and Francis Woodbury built the present
house there over sixty years ago. Before 1820
Joshua, Francis, and James Woodbury moved
to Cushings Island, near White Head, but
their title to the land not being satisfactory
they removed their house from the island.
This may account for the cellar found there.
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 6 1
As early as 1834 William, James, Francis,
and Joslina Woodbury divided the land, al-
though they had no deed of it. This may
have been done to divide also the responsi-
bility, so that each would pay but their share.
Samuel Woodbury and his wife lived to be
very old people and died on the island. The
tradition is that he was an honest, uneducated,
and hard-working man.
The Waites' two-ninths of the island was
inherited by the two daughters of Col. John
Waite, Nancy, who married Nathaniel F. Deer-
ing, and Luc}^, who married Capt. Samuel
McLellan. In 1839 Nancy W. Deering con-
veyed her undivided half to Lucy McLellan,
and in 1840 she deeded all to Alexander John-
son, Jr., for a consideration of $1,500.00, and
received a mortgage in return to secure pay-
ment. Johnson, the same day, sold about
thirty acres at Evergreen Landing to John
Sterling, of House Island, and two da}^s after-
wards sold Francis Woodbury twenty-eight
square rods, over fifty-eight acres, at the west-
ern end, next to the Trott line. This left
the strip through the middle at Trefethen's
Landing and back of it. Two years later
(1842) Henry Trefethen, of House Island,
bought of Lucy McLellan the unpaid note of
62 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
Johnson's, with unpaid interest, for $502.72, he
giving a quitclaim deed to the land. In 1847
Trefethen deeded the land to Francis Wood-
bury for $500. Alexander Johnson, Jr., mar-
ried Lydia N. Woodbu^, in 1824, an d after dis-
posing of all interest in Peaks Island moved to
Long Island, and was soon after drowned.
The land known as the Francis Woodbury
farm is the land he purchased of Johnson in
1840. It was a strip forty-seven and one-
half rods wide on the Trott line, extended
from shore to shore, and consisted of over
fifty-eight acres. Then there was a right of
way across it. This farm was divided equally
between six heirs and assigns, lengthwise, in
1865. These six parts were owned by Thank-
ful Woodbury, Charles and Henry Trefethen,
Jr., Simeon Skillings, Eliza Jane Woodman,
Emily P. Trefethen, and William Woodbury.
There was an irregular piece of land from the
original farm on the western end, containing
two and one-half acres, that William Wood-
bury had bought in 1849.
The unhappy termination of Joshua Wood-
bury's life, in about 1838, brings us back to
the family's effort to purchase the land. The
time arrived when Joshua and Francis were
to make their last payment, as they supposed,
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 63
and get their deed. They sold a pair of oxen
which they could hardly spare to get the
money, and went to the city to get their
deed. They were unsuccessful, but all the
reasons, perhaps, are not now perfectly under-
stood, and they returned to the island some-
what disheartened. Joshua expressed the
opinion that they never would get the deed.
The two brothers and their sister, Thankful,
were living in the Wallace house. Joshua
and Francis went out fishing on Saturday,
and Joshua felt badly about his troubles on
his return. They left their fish in their boat
over Sunday that they were to carry to the
city on Monday, as was their custom. Sun-
day the sister went out into the woods, and
while she was away Joshua urged Francis to
go to the boat to look after the fish, which he
did. While both were gone he went to the
barn and on the scaffold cut his throat to end
his troubles, which had unsettled his mind.
He was a man who made a practice of reading
his Bible every Sunday. He believed that
he had not been justly dealt with, and the
disappointment he could not stand. His
death shocked the people of the island, and it
is told as the most horrible event that has yet
happened among them. The older people
64 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
remember these brothers as well-meaning bnt
uneducated men, and by many it is believed
that if they had been more accustomed to
matters of business their affairs might have
turned out differently. Of such men
" Be to their faults a little blind,
Be to their virtues very kind."
Henry Parsons was an early resident of
Peaks Island. He was born June 24, 1782,
and when he was eighteen years of age his
father was drowned. He came from Glouces-
ter, Mass., and first went to the island in
1804, and at that time there were but four
houses there. He had probably just married
Sarah Sawyer, a daughter of Samuel and
Hannah Sawyer, of Cape Elizabeth, aud she
died Feb. 27, 1830, aged 49 years. He mar-
ried her sister, Hannah Sawyer, in 1832, and
she was born June 4, 1795, and died Jan. 5,
1865, aged 69 years. He died on the island,
Jan. 4, 1862, aged 79 years. Their children
were: Samuel S., born in 1805, married, first,
in 1826, Jane Holden, sister of the late Charles
Holden, Esq., and second, in 1854, Catherine
Lincoln. Mary F., born in 1806, married, in
1833, Nathaniel S. Millett, and died Dec. 4,
1896, aged 90 years. Jane B., born in 1808,
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 65
and married, in 1835, Samuel Trott. Henry,
born in 18 10, married, in 1840, Eleanor Bartol,
of Lisbon. Charles, born in 18 13, married, in
1835, Eliza Lincoln. Martha, born in 1816,
and died the next year. Sarah, born in 18 19,
never married, and died in 1846, aged 26 years.
John S., born in 1834, married, in 1858, Ellen
Johnson, and James T., born in 1835, and
married, in 1866, Frances A. Simonton, of
Cape Elizabeth. The last two of the children
were by the second wife and they are living
at South Portland.
Henry Parsons first bought land on Peaks
Island in 1828, which was about four acres on
the south side of the Waite line, but on the
side of the hill, which he purchased of Ben-
jamin Trott, Jr. In 1834 he purchased nearly
three acres more, of John Brackett, Jr., by
the same line, near Brackett's house, and five
and two-thirds acres on the shore, making
altogether nearly thirteen acres, which is still
owned by his family.
William T. Jones was a prominent citizen
of Peaks Island in his time. The story of his
life is one of credit to him. He was left an
orphan at twelve, and at fourteen walked from
66 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
Portsmouth, N. H., to Boston to seek his for-
tune, where he soon found employment in a
tavern, where Capt. John Brackett, Jr., first
met him. He wished to come to Portland
with Captain Brackett in his vessel, which was
consented to as he took a fancy to the boy.
This was about 1832. He learned the cooper's
trade and spent several winters in Cuba at
work at that trade. He established the cooper
business on Peaks Island and his shop was
where the Union House stands. In 1840 he
married Almira B. Welch, daughter of George
D. Welch and granddaughter of John Brack-
ett. She died in 1841, aged 22 years. He
married again, in 1848, Eliza A. Chamberlain,
daughter of Abia and Sibyl (Merrill) Cham-
berlain, of Scarborough. Her grandfather,
Joshua Merrill, was an officer in the Revolu-
tionary Arnry. She came to Peaks Island in
1847 as a school-teacher, has lived on the
island about fifty years, been closely identified
with its progress, and enjoys the respect and
esteem of not only her neighbors and friends
but many who have been her guests from all
parts of the country.
Mr. Jones, in 1855, altered his cooper shop
into a restaurant and was the pioneer in the
business on the island. In i860 he built the
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 67
Union House, which he and his wife kept
until his death, and his wife has continued
the business since. The Union House, since
first built, has been enlarged and for many
years was the house of the island.
Mr. Jones was a man of marked ability
and a leading and enterprising citizen. He
was prominent in the formation of the Peaks
Island Steamboat Company, which built the
steamer Express in 187 1, and established
regular communications with the city for the
entire year. He died suddenly, in 1880, aged
62 years, a respected and honored man. Jones
Landing was named for him and the name
should never be changed.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Jones are :
Ellen Tappan, who married Christopher Wa}^ ;
James Brackett, who married Paryntha M.
Salter, of Burlington, N. S. ; Winthrop Stan-
wood, who married Arietta Foster, daughter
of the late Dr. Thomas A. Foster ; Alice Eliza,
a school-teacher in Portland; Herbert Abia,
who married Flora M. Salter, of Burlington,
N. S., and four children who died young.
The Shillings family came from Cushing's
Island. Robert F. Skillings went to Peaks
68 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
Island in December, 1843. He was born in
1819, married, in 1842, Harriet vS*? Trefethen,
and had nine children. His brother, Simeon
Skillings, Jr., went to the island about i860.
He was born in 18 18, married, in 1848, Nancy
E. Sterling, and had eight children. Their
sister, Sarah A. Skillings, was born in 182 1,
married, in 1843, Smith C. Hadlock, who
came from the Cranberry Isles, and they have
lived on Peaks Island abont fifty years. They
are children of Simeon and Nancy (Adams)
Skillings, who were married in 181 2, and
went abont that time to live on Cushing's
Island, on land that she inherited from her
great-grandfather, General Jedediah Preble.
They had eight sons and four daughters, all
born on that island. He acquired six-sev-
enths of the island, and about i860 the whole
title passed to Lemuel dishing.
Nancy Adams, wife of Simeon Skillings,
was the daughter of Francis and Nancy
(Preble) Adams, married in 1786, and grand-
daughter of Jedediah, Jr., and Avis (Phillips)
Preble, of Castine. She was the great-grand-
daughter of General Jedediah and Martha
(Junkins) Preble, of Falmouth Neck.
Simeon Skillings, of Cushing's Island,
was the son of Simeon and Mary (Skillings)
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 69
Skillings, married in 1769; grandson of Ed-
ward and Mary (Mills) Skillings, married in
1732; great-grandson of Josiah and Elizabeth
(Lydston) Skillings, married in 1708; great-
great-grandson of John and Elizabeth Skill-
ings, and great -great -great -grandson of
Thomas and Deborah Shillings, who came
to Old Falmonth as early as 165 1. Thomas
Skillings, the first of the family, died in 1667.
The Sterling famify have been identified
with House and Peaks Islands about seventy-
five years. The name was originally Starling
and was changed after coming to House
The first of this family known to us was
Joseph Starling and his wife, Mary, who set-
tled at New Marblehead, now Windham, Me.,
about 1750, and proceeded to clear land for
a home. Here he had six daughters and one
son, Josiah, born. They probably moved from
Windham about 1765, and may have gone to
Bristol, Me., where he died about 1780. His
son, Josiah, was born in Windham, Jan. 29,
1762, and married, Nov. 2, 1783, Mary Tre-
fethen. She was the daughter of Henry Tre-
fethen, and was born at New Castle, N. H.,
JO HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
Nov. 28, 1763. She died Feb. 12, 1838, aged
74 years. Josiah Starling died Dec. 28, 1832,
aged 70 years. They probably lived at Friend-
ship and, perhaps, at Monhegan Island. They
had eight daughters and five sons.
John Sterling, son of Josiah, was born in
Friendship, May 4, 1785, and married, Dec.
11, 1804, Patience Browe, who was born in
Bristol, Me., July 5, 1784. She died Dec. 3,
1853, aged 69 years. He married, for his
second wife, Mrs. Experience (Higgins) Fogg,
in 1856, who died at Freeport. He died Aug.
10, 1870, aged 85 years.
John Sterling's children .were all bv his
first wife, and were as follows : (jhtififety born
in 1807, and married, in 1828, Philena Gove.
Seth B., born in 1809, and was lost overboard
from the schooner Experiment, in 1835, off
Cape Sable. He was 25 years of age and left
a widow, Mary Trefethen, at Portsmouth, with
two sons, Thomas and Seth. Mary, born in
18 1 2, and married John Blake, in 1829. Caro-
line, born in 1814, married, in 183 1, Samuel
Rines, and she died July 16, 1841. John, born
in 18 16, and died in 1835, aged 19 years.
Patience, born in 18 19, and married Robert
Robinson. Elizabeth, born in 182 1, and mar-
ried Nathaniel Harrington. Phebe, born in
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. J I
1823, an d married, in 1848, Isaac N. Sylvester.
The youngest was Alpheus G., born in 1828,
married, first, Maria L. York, in 1853, and
second, Adelia D. Scott, in 1873. He lives on
the old home place on House Island.
John Sterling came from Monhegan Island
to House Island about 1822, and bought one-
quarter part of the island, where he moved
and carried on the fishing business. He
bought the Edward Mansfield house on Peaks
Island, about 1824, for his oldest son, Luther.
This house is now owned by Seth B. Sterling,
and is on Island Avenue. Luther Sterling
married, in 1826^ Elizabeth Cudworth, of
Bristol, who was born in 1800 and died in
1888, aged 88 years. He lived the most of
his life on Peaks Island, and was a seafaring
man. He had nine children : Nancy Eliza-
beth, born in 1826, and married, in 1848, Sim-
eon Skillings, Jr.; Luther A., born in 1829;
John T., born in 183 1 ; Joseph C, born in 1833 5
Seth B., born in 1835 ; James H., born in 1837 5
William A., born in 1839; Robinson E., born
in 1842, and Melvin C, born in 1844.
Luther Sterling saw the fight between the
Enterprise and Boxer from Monhegan Island
in 1813. He was a boy of nine years of age
at the time. He said that at the time of the
72 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
battle the surgeon, the captain of the top, and
two marines from the Boxer were on shore
and were unable to get on board before the
engagement commenced, and stood with the
people of the island. The fight was quite
near the island as he always told of it to his
acquaintances and family.
Luther Sterling saved the life of a young
lady named Maria E. Harwell, of Manchester,
N. H., in August, 1849. She was thrown
overboard from the yacht Odd Fellow in our
harbor, and he saw the accident and went to
the rescue, arriving in time to save an almost
extinct life. In her gratitude to her, then
unknown, rescuer, she came to Portland the
next spring determined to find who he was,
and after weeks of inquiry found it was he.
She presented him with a family Bible, in
which she, in her own hand, inscribed her
gratitude to him for saving her life, with fer-
vent hopes for his success and happiness.
Luther Sterling died April 16, 1880, aged 75
John Sterling bought for his next son,
Josiah, in 1840, about thirty acres of land on
Peaks Island, at Evergreen Landing, of Alex-
ander Johnson, Jr. Of this lot it was said that
it " was set off to William Woodbury in 1834."
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 73
Josiali Sterling lived here, having married,
in 1828, Philena Gove, of Edgecomb, Me. His
children were: Robert Thayer, born in 1830,
and married, in i860, Catherine J. Craig. He
died Jnne 19, 1876. Patience Augnsta, born
in 1832, and married William Keene, of Bris-
tol. Qnincy, born in 1833, and died in 1835.
Josiah, Jr., born in 1835. Mary Caroline, born
in 1837, who married, in 1855, George M.
Latham, and died in 1858. Elizabeth C, born
in 1839, and died the next 3^ear. Elizabeth,
born in 1840, and married Andrew England.
John E., born in 1843. Qnincy M., born in
1845, an d Brnnette, born in 1847. Josiah
Sterling died Sept. 25, 1889, aged 82 years.
The Trefethen family are of Welch origin.
The first ancestor known to this family was
Henry Trefethen, of New Castle, N. H., a
shipwright, whose wife, Deborah, was a grand-
daughter of Robert Jordan. They were alive
in 1760. Henry Trefethen made for himself
a clock case of solid mahogany and purchased
the movement in England. In his will he
left the clock to his son Henry, to go to the
next one of that name in each generation, and
it is now owned by his great-grandson Henry,
at Peaks Island, and still keeps good time.
74 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
His son, Hemy Trefethen, Jr., went to
Monhegan Island, and his sister, Mary, mar-
ried Josiah Starling in 1783. They were the
parents of John Starling, who came to House
Island about 1822. Henry Trefethen, third,
son of Henry, Jr., acquired a title in House
Island in September, 1823, and later the one-
half not owned by the government was divided
equally by purchase between John Starling
and himself. The dwelling-honse was occu-
pied by both families, but was divided through
the middle crosswise, so that each family had
their half separate from the other. The busi-
ness of the families was always carried on
Henry Trefethen, third, of House Island,
was born on the island of Monhegan about
1797. His wife was Mary Thompson, of
Friendship, Me., who was born about 1795.
Their children were: Harriet N., born in
182 1, who married Robert F. Skillings, in
1842, and lives on Peaks Island. William S.,
born in 1823, wno married, in 1841, Emily P.
Reed. Jane H., born in 1825, wno married
David Fairweather, in 1851, and Caleb Blake,
in 1856. Henry, Jr., born in 1828, and died
in 1833. George, born in 1830, who married
Abby Chamberlain, of Scarborough, in 1851.
HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND. 75
Charles E., born in 1832, married, first, Caro-
line Willard, in 1852, and second, in 1859,
Louisa A. Keith. Henry, Jr., born in 1833,
married, first, Mary E. Hamilton, in 1853,
and second, in 1861, Apphia T. Holbrook, and
Elizabeth, born in 1836, who married, first,
Newton Gross, of Buckfield, and, second,
Daniel E. Angell. Henry Trefethen died
June 29, 1880, aged 83 years, and his wife,
Mary Thompson, died Sept. 2, 1880, aged 85
William S. Trefethen moved to Peaks
Island about 1844; Charles E. Trefethen
about i860, and Henry Trefethen, Jr., about
1875. Trefethen Landing receives its name
from this family.
Baxter Scott, the first of the name on
Peaks Island, came from Georgetown, Me.
He was the son of Joseph Baxter Scott and
Eleanor Trafton. He first lived on Cushing's
Island and afterwards was a farmer on Hog
(Great Diamond) Island. He was born April
6, 1808, married Mary P. Manson, who was
born in 1805, and died May 7, 1873, aged 6j
years. They bought the porgy factory, land
and wharf, in April, 1868, and soon after
j6 HISTORY OF PEAKS ISLAND.
moved to Peaks Island, north side. They also
purchased other land.
Their children were: Lafayette W., born
in 1838, married Lizzie J. Trefethen, in 1863,
and died Dec. 3, 1885, aged 47 years. Valarie
J., born in 1840, who died, unmarried, in i860
aged 19 3^ears. Azubah A., born in 1843, wno
died, unmarried, in 1867, aged 33 years.
George W., married, in 1870, Elizabeth H.
Putnam. Adelia D., who married, in 1873,
Alpheus G. Sterling, of House Island, and
Manson W., who married Mrs. Eliza (Savage)
Smith, and lives in Boston. Baxter Scott died
May 8, 1893, aged 85 years.
What was known at one time as Scott's
Landing is now the Steamboat Landing, but
was formerly the old Brackett Landing.
" So closed our tale, of which I give you all
The random scheme as wildly as it rose :
The words are mostly mine."
THE OWNERS AND SOME OF THEIR HISTORY.
" Oh ! give me a home by the sea
Where the wild waves are crested with foam."
House Island, from its proximity to
Peaks, has some history in common with that
island. For the last three-qnarters of a cent-
nry the families of both islands have been
closely connected and the interests of one have
been that of the other. This island has never
been a pleasure resort, bnt has been occu-
pied by those engaged in the more serious
occupation of the fisherman; those "who have
enriched the country by drawing wealth from
the seas." The story of the island's name
and that of its owners becomes more interest-
ing as time rolls on, and should be so cared
for that the succeeding generations may have
the advantage of the knowledge in our time.
House Island has borne that name from
the earliest times. As early as 1661 it was
"commonly called House Island," and in 1663
there was an old house upon it, and a new one
j8 HISTORY OF HOUSE ISLAND.
that had been built by "Joseph Phipenny."
An old house in 1663 might have been a new-
one when Capt. Christopher Levitt spent the
winter of 1623 and the next summer in the
harbor. On the southeast side of the island,
on the north side of the cove, are the remains
of the foundations of two buildings, one now
partly washed away, of which nothing is
known. The Sterling family have lived on
the island seventy-five years, and have never
heard any explanation of why they were there
or any traditions about them, although they
have expressed an interest to know. The
present old house was built very early in
this century by John Green Walden. The
old foundations may be those of the two
first houses on the island. There seems to
be no reason why any one should have taken
the trouble to have leveled off the ground.
Then the settlement at Portland was of little
account and they would have been likely to
have built on the south side of the island.
Perhaps one may date to Levitt's house?
The description of Levitt's Island, where he
lived, applies as well to this island as to any
other, and certainly it is "an island lying
before Casco (Fore) River." The name of the
island indicates that it was the first island to
HISTORY OF HOUSE ISLAND. 79
have a house upon it. Many difficult questions
have been settled in time and this ina}' be.
House Island was early improved by per-
sons in the fishing business. The first recorded
deed, Oct. 23, 1661, says Nicholas White, of
Casco Bay, planter, sold one-quarter of the
island to John Breme, a fisherman, with the
house, for X5-3S., but reserved the right for
Sampson Penley to make fish upon it during
his life and to have refusal of the purchase if
he should sell. In September, 1663, Penley
levied an execution on one-quarter of the
island, with half of the old house and all of
the new house together with half of the stages,
and March 9, 1664, Penley sold all his interest
to George Munjoy for £ij. In November,
1663, William Noreman, a fisherman, sold a
quarter part of the island and a quarter part
of the house, for X3-15S., to George Munjoy.
The price would indicate that the house must
have been a rude affair. Munjoy finally
acquired the whole title to the island, which
was confirmed to his widow by President Dan-
forth in 1681, and it descended to his heirs.
In the inventory of his estate, in 1685, House
Island was valued at ^30.
Probably after the re-settlement of Port-
land, about 1716, House Island was claimed
80 HISTORY OF HOUSE ISLAND.
by John Wallis, who owned the land at Spring
Point, where Fort Preble now is. He may
have been granted it by the town. This John
Wallis, with many others, returned to Spring
Point in the spring of 1703, as peace had been
declared. There were then nine families living
near that Point not protected by any garrison.
The Indians came suddenly npon them, in
Angnst, while the men were away, and killed
twenty-five persons and took several prisoners.
Among the killed were Thomas Lovitt and
his family, Joel Mediver, and the wives of
Josiah and Benjamin Wallis and of Michael
Webber. The wife of Joseph Wallis was
taken captive. Webber's w T ife was horribly
mutilated and several children were killed.
Josiah Wallis escaped and carried his son
John, then abont seven years of age, to Spur-
wink, part of the way on his back. For many
years after no one lived there.
In the division of John Wallis' estate, in
1724, it was agreed among the family that
House Island should be kept for the equal
benefit of all the heirs and not divided. The
children were Josiah, James, Joseph, Benja-
min, and Susannah Wallis. Perhaps Dorcas
Lane, wife of John, was a daughter, and
Joshua Woodbury was interested in the estate,
his wife's name being Sarah.
HISTORY OF HOUSE ISLAND. 8 1
Martha Munjoy, wife of Josiah, of Bos-
ton, who was a grandson of George Munjoy,
sold, in 1722, one-ninth of House Island
to Col. Penn Townsend, of Boston. Townsend
sold the next day one-half of his purchase to
John Buttolph. These fragments of the title
to the island were probably purchased by
Parson Smith until he had acquired one-third,
as he stated in 1742.
Peter Woodbury, of Cape Elizabeth, a son
of Joshua, purchased House Island of the
Wallises and Parson Thomas Smith, and, in
1798, he sold it to Abigail Barstow for $333.33.
She became the wife of John Allen, in 1800,
who soon died. Then she. married, in 1803,
Enoch Hsley, being his third wife, and died
in 1842, aged 88 years.
Jedediah Collins, a merchant of Portland,
purchased the island in 1799 at an advanced
price of one hundred dollars, and sold it at
the same figure to John Green Walden, in
1801, who was then living on the island. The
purchase price indicates that whatever house
there was then there must have been of
little value. Walden probably built, soon
after his purchase, the present old house,
where he lived. In 1808 he sold the southern
half of the island, about twenty acres, to the
82 HISTORY OF HOUSE ISLAND.
United States, and the deed of that land has
the only reference to the name Howe's, as
applied to the name of the island. There
appears no reason for it, as no person of that
name, as far as known, ever owned the island.
John Green Walden came from Salem and
carried on fishing and farming. His son,
Capt. Green Walden, who died at Cape Eliza-
beth in 1875, aged 78 years, was a coxwain of
a guard boat in the harbor during the War of
1812, and received a pension for the service.
In 1830 he was appointed second lieutenant
in the revenue service, promoted to first lieu-
tenant the same year, and was made captain
in 1838. He served in the Mexican War with
credit and retired from the service in 1857.
A writer who knew him personally said of
him that " he was a courageous man who was
always seeking an opportunity to assist
another." The father, John Green Walden,
had another son named Nathaniel, and daugh-
ters Mary, and Anne who married Edward
Mansfield, in 1817, and lived on Peaks Island.
John Green Walden's wife, Mary, died in
1843, aged 76 years.
John Sterling bought an interest in one-
half of House Island in 1822 and moved there.
The next year Henry Trefethen, both from
HISTORY OF HOUSE ISLAND. 83
Monhegan Island and relatives, purchased
the balance of the title to one-half of the
island and also moved there. They soon
after each owned one-quarter of the island by
purchase. Both were engaged in fishing, but
separately. One-half of the island is now
owned by the United States, one-quarter by
Alpheus G. Sterling, who lives there, and the
other quarter by George Trefethen, trustee,
and Harriett Skillings, his sister. It was
used for fishing purposes up to within a
few years, but the flakes so familiar to our
younger days are used no more. In early
times, probably, the island was covered with
trees and bushes, but they have long since
When the first Fort Scammel was built, in
1808-9, on the highest point was erected an
octagonal block-house of timber, with a point-
ed roof of eight sides, on which was placed a
carved wooden eagle with extended wings.
On each of the eight sides of the block-house
was an embrasure or port-hole and a gun.
The upper story projected over the lower story
two or three feet, and the buildiug was painted
white. It presented from the harbor a pictur-
esque appearance. During the rebuilding of
the fort, about the beginning of the Rebellion,
84 HISTORY OF HOUSE ISLAND.
the block-house was taken down. The fort was
named for Gen. Alexander Scammel, a gallant
officer of the Revolution, and a classmate and
friend of Gen. Peleg Wadsworth. In case of
an emergency Fort Scammel could be used to
defend the main channel and White Head
passage with but slight alterations for modern
The story is told. It is but a part of Port-
land's history, a city u seated by the sea," that
has no rival as a summer home. Those who
here live know its beauties, and those who
spend their vacation days in our harbor
depart with its praises warm upon their lips.
Longfellow, who was born in "an old square
wooden house upon the edge of the sea," says :
" I remember the bulwarks by the shore,
And the fort upon the hill ;
The sunrise gun with its hollow roar,
The drum-beat repeated o'er and o'er,
And the bugle wild and shrill.
And the music of that old song
Throbs in my memory still:
'A boy's will is the wind's will,
And the thoughts of youth are long,